Felipe Massa has blamed an error in the final corner for his failure to qualify higher for the Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit, round four on the F1 2010 schedule.
Massa eventually put his Ferrari F10 in seventh on the grid and the Brazilian was definitely disappointed not to have done better, especially as his team-mate, Fernando Alonso will line-up in third.
Speaking after the shoot-out, the current championship leader conceded it will be hard now to fight for a 'top position', although the weather could yet lend him a hand as rain is forecast for tomorrow's race.
"I'm a bit disappointed because I wasn't able to do a clean lap on my last run in Q3. Unfortunately, I made a mistake at the final corner which lost me at least a few tenths. Up to that point, I was in line for a lap that would have seen me into the top five, but when everyone is so close, it takes very little to find yourself dropping down the grid," Massa said.
"It might rain tomorrow, so there's a chance it could shake up the order, but it is clear that starting seventh, it will be hard to fight for the top positions.
"In terms of race pace, we can hold our own, as was the case in yesterday's free practice: the soft tyres seem to degrade more than the hard but maybe with a bit more rubber on the track, the situation could improve. It will be very important to get a good start and make up some places immediately."
Ferrari team prinicpal Stefano Domenicali meanwhile said it was unfortunate Massa did not qualify better.
"A shame for Felipe, who did not manage to put together a perfect lap, which sees him relegated to the fourth row: in a championship in which at least four cars are all within a few tenths, it only takes a small error to find yourself in a position that does not match up to your potential," he added.
"Tomorrow's race looks like being very hard to predict though. The weather is forecast to take a turn for the worse and we will probably need to be ready to tackle what could be a wet race."